Oestradiol Potentiates the Effects of Certain Pyrethroid Compounds in the MCF7 Human Breast Carcinoma Cell Line

Irma Kakko, Tarja Toimela and Hanna Tähti

Pyrethroids are the most widely used insecticides for indoor pest control, so human exposure to them is common. The main target of pyrethroids is the nervous system, but their endocrine disrupting capabilities may also be of toxicological concern. In the present study, the proliferation of the breast cancer cell line, MCF7, was studied after a 7-day exposure to various concentrations of pyrethrin, permethrin and cypermethrin. The effects of oestradiol and the combined effects of oestradiol (0.10nM) and pyrethroids (0.1–100μM) on MCF7 cell proliferation were also evaluated. Proliferation and cell toxicity were studied by measuring the ATP content with a luminescence method, and mitochondrial metabolic enzyme activity with the WST-1 test. In the ATP test, low concentrations (0.1–1μM) of pyrethroids in co-exposure with oestradiol caused a clear statistically significant increase in the proliferation of MCF7 cells. This was evident when compared to the proliferative effect caused by 0.1nM oestradiol alone. High concentrations were cytotoxic, and the greatest cell toxicity was that of cypermethrin, which has a cyano group in its molecular structure.
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